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Jesse Sims of Corvallis, who de-commited from Oregon State following the departure of the Beavers' head coach, said Monday he will play for Montana.

Jesse Sims found out just like everyone else.

Oregon State head football coach Mike Riley was out, leaving to take the same position at Nebraska. First came shock for Sims, a tight end recruit of Riley's at OSU. Then a realization for what it might mean for him.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior withdrew his verbal commitment with the Beavers following Riley's exit last Thursday and is re-entering open recruitment.

"I just wanted to open my options right away and not get caught in a bad position without somewhere to go," Sims said. "I wanted to let other coaches make sure they knew I was open and then see who Oregon State ended up getting in for a new head coach and go from there."

Sims, who also plays basketball at Corvallis, is adamant that his de-commitment has not erased Oregon State from the picture. The Beavers hired Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen earlier this week and Sims is waiting to see if he still fits into the Beavers' plans.

Nebraska, too, is certainly in the running should Riley carry some of his commits onward to the Big Ten Conference team. But there's no shortage of suitors beyond there.

Among them are state schools Montana and Montana State, both of which offered Sims before his initial commitment to OSU in late August. Pacific-12 programs Arizona State and USC are interested as well.

Then there's the handful of other schools that offered scholarships last time around -- Colorado State, Wyoming, Idaho, Toledo -- and some new names like Iowa State.

"I'm definitely staying in touch with Oregon State, seeing if the new coach still wants me there," Sims started. "But I've been talking to a couple other schools.

"It's a little nerve-wracking because there's not as much time now so we'll need to get something figured out."

With a full senior football season behind him at Corvallis, Sims' recruitment is a slightly different animal this time around. That's not a bad thing, insisted Clayton Curley, his Blue Devils coach.

"It's almost opened up more things for him," Curley said. "The nice thing about him is people don't know if they want him for offense or defense.

"At first they like the offensive aspect like at tight end. All of a sudden they're talking about (half)back stuff, where we played him. Then they're talking about defensive end and middle linebacker."

After suiting up at TE and DE for Stevensville his first three years of high school -- Sims transferred to Bitterroot Valley rival Corvallis last January for his final prep season -- Curley used his new-found asset in the offensive backfield and at linebacker.

Sims carried the ball 32 times for 102 yards and a touchdown on offense. He also caught 18 passes for 271 yards and two more scores while handling plenty of blocking duties.

"It's been hectic with all these schools calling in again, because he's on the radar again," Curley said. "I think it's a good thing, will open up some windows for him, because really this was only his second full year of high school football."

Sims missed much of his sophomore and junior seasons with injuries, but did enough in summer recruiting camps to catch the eye of some major colleges.

"It should be exciting and hopefully we'll get something figured out soon," Sims said.

The early signing period of NCAA football programs begins Feb. 4.

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